Welcome to a special New Years edition of Pull It Together, where I will almost not even be telling you what comics come out this week. And that is because there are less than two dozen titles shipping this week, across every publisher that works with Diamond Distributors. And many of them shipped last week anyway so that employees could enjoy the holiday! So if you do get out to your shop on New Years Eve, and you’ve got kids to buy for, check out
Abigail and the Snowman #1. And if you’re there and you like the Agents of SHIELD Show, check out . SHIELD #1
Otherwise, check out this gallery of the 10 best moments in comics from 2014, entirely subjectively compiled in no particular order by me, with some help from Victoria. Happy New Year!
There's no cross domain hackery or tracking voodoo, it's just some sweet jQuery animations.
Please, think of the animations.
In the meantime, enjoy the html version below. I guess. If that's your thing.
The Opening of Wytches
The opening scene of
Wytches was one that I told several non-comics reading friends about, simply because it's a gut punch of a ghost story, an opening that grabs the horror reader by the throat (or the nose) and tells them in no uncertain terms the sort of wrenching shocks they're in for. I'm behind on Wytches at the moment, but only because I can't read the comic before bed.
Ms. Marvel's "With Great Power..." Moment
Let’s admit it, most of us haven’t read much of any religious texts very thoroughly, and the Quran passages that usually rise to the top of Western consciousness don’t tend to portray Muslim people all that fairly. Kamala challenges the stereotype of the oppressed Muslim woman by drawing power from her religion—her version of the “with great power comes great responsibility” speech literally comes from her father’s favorite Quran verse.
Red Sonja #9
Most of the screenshots out there of
Red Sonja #9 are of the issue's hilarious opening, where Sonja arrives at the world's greatest brothel to invite and transport Toa, the famed Princess of PIllowing, to a dying king's last epic bash. Sonja's own hope that she might avail herself of the facilities, combined with her lack of funds, causes her to be thrown out on her ear. But it's the rest of the issue that just might bring a tear to your eye. Sonja and Toa have two very different skillsets, but they both chose them at an early age because they were the only options available to them. Sonja's bloody trade makes her uncomfortable with taking on aspects of traditional femininity because she feels she doesn't deserve them; and Toa sometimes regrets the independence she's given up for her trade, and wishes she could better advocate for other women than her position allows. In sharing the skills of their two worlds, the women form an immediate, touching, and for many women, entirely relatable sisterhood.
Bee and PuppyCat #2
There are two things you're definitely going to lose in the translation from film to comics: movement sound. I imagine this was fresh in the minds of the folks behind the
Bee and PuppyCat comics series, as the show includes not just a bunch of lovely music, but also a character who is voiced entirely by synthetically produced nonsense syllables.
Bee and PuppyCat #2, our heroes are tasked by TempBot with repairing a client's music boxes. Several of these boxes are given a full page of art revealing the intricate scenes within, and where a sound bubble might include a few music notes (or if the comic is written by Alan Moore, an entire page of sheet music) their bubbles included QR codes that linked to secret Youtube videos containing brief recordings of the box's song. It's the best incorporation of music into comics that I've ever seen. It's also the best use of QR codes that I have ever seen in any context, and rather than annoyingly bringing the reader to another medium, simply brought you back to the original format of Bee and PuppyCat, Youtube.
Matt Fraction and David Aja’s run on
Hawkeye has always been solid, and they’re no strangers to experimenting with comic narrative (see Hawkeye #11, which is told entirely through the POV of Clint Barton’s dog). But Issue #19 really takes the cake: in it, Barton is temporarily deafened, hearkening back to the character’s oft-forgotten history with hearing disabilities. The story is told almost entirely through visuals and especially using ASL, and even if you aren’t familiar with the language you can still grasp what’s happening—but even then it’s still difficult to read, which really demonstrates to the reader just how difficult it can be to live with deafness. It’s a poignant and welcome bit of representation that really packs an emotional wallop.
She-Hulk and the Gigantic Doombot
Sometimes you just need to acknowledge a single small moment in comics, for summing up the joy of interconnected comics universes. For having some lovely design and color work. For being a damn good joke with or without context.
For giving Doctor Doom a doombot the size of a house.
Batgirl: Futures End
The one issue story of
Batgirl: Futures End was a vision of the future, but full of some nostalgia nods for readers and an enduring message of unconventional family. For one, Simone returned to the character of Bane for the first time since Secret Six, continuing his characterization as a fierce and devoted, if ultimately misguided and tyrannical, father figure for troubled women. For another, she penned the first New 52 appearance of Cassandra Cain, the second Batgirl and only Batgirl/Robin incarnation to not be reintroduced to main DC continuity. And for a fourth member of the team, she put Lucious Fox's daughter Tiffany in the costume. Now if only there were more comics about the "League of Batgirls"...
Sex Criminals and "Fat Bottomed Girls"
What would have been a pretty great scene anyway became that much more fascinating and hilarious when Matt Fraction and Chp Zdarsky realized that they wouldn’t be able to get the rights to publish a Queen song and instead broke the fourth wall completely to discuss their writing process. All of
Sex Criminals is pretty great (especially the first issue, which deals with a woman’s sexual coming of age in a way I’ve never seen before), but if I had to point someone to the most quintessentially “ Sex Criminals” scene in the series so far, this would be it. Well, this and the diagram of sex positions from #1. Both of those.
Rat Queens #8
We all have
conflicted feelings about Rat Queens these days, though there's a light on the horizon. But if I might recommend one issue from the first eight of the series, it would be, well, #8. #8 gives us a bit of backstory on the party's resident tank, Violet, from the days when duty to her family demanded that she model the aesthetic features of her father's latest armor designs, while her brother got to show off their durability in the arena. One too many demands to be a proper dwarven lass, and one too many lecherous comments from her father's clients, and Violet storms off to her room. There, in a fit of frustration, she clumsily does away with her most traditionally (dwarven) feature of feminine beauty: she chops off her beard.
Her mother, who had up until now been entirely a part of the pressures Violet felt on her life, enters shortly after and instead of expressing horror at Violet's transformation... she tells her to go ahead with it. Her father needs the lesson in paying attention to his children's needs, the family business will survive, and no matter what Violet needs to do or do to herself to feel like the person she was meant to be... her mother will love her. And then she teaches her how to actually shave.
The Last Page of The Sandman: Overture #1
The Sandman: Overture was an exciting development for fans, but one with the usual fears associated with an artist picking up a franchise after decades of gap. We're a pop culture still reeling from lackluster attempts to revitalize Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Alien, Watchmen... I could go on. The question of whether Neil Gaiman could write another Sandman story that said something entirely new about the setting but still felt like a part of the whole twenty years on was answered with an emphatic yes with the first issue of the series. And that emphasis was driven home with a beautiful double fold out page from J.H. Williams, III of more than a dozen different incarnations of the title character from across the universe.
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